I review 13 singing apps that claim they teach us how to sing and/or warm up. All can be found on both iOS and Android.
What am I looking for in a good singing app?
- It has to warm up your voice properly. For that, it needs a good build-up. So it has to start small, with consonants or trills and with short range exercises. And slowly build up from there to closed and open vowels and wider range.
- It would also be nice if it had good vocal technique guidance.
- And finally, it should be easy to use.
Watch this first
The reviews for all the apps
- By: Learn-to-Sing Music Education & Karaoke Inc.
- Android version available through baixarapk.gratis.
- Existing rating: 4.4 stars - 9.4K ratings.
- Free+Upgrade options: membership of 3, 6 or 12 months for €5.49, €8.99 or € 10.99 respectively. Provides add free, ear and music training, extra exercises and custom notebars.
The Vocals feature is a scale of notes. You can play any note by pressing it. Then when you sing it shows you if you’re correct/sharp/flat. Fun to play around with.
The app will not identify any random note you sing, only if you play one first. The font of the notes is tiny and difficult to read. There is a REC button which is not active.
They show you on the scale (note name only) lines of different lengths, and play the exercise for you. No staff with music written, so no way to know what the exercise is in advance. You are expected to sing simultaneously, without a demonstration. Then you are given a grade (up to 100%).
The biggest bummer is: they will grade you from the first second, so it’s very hard to get a good score. They will lower your grade for singing an inaccurate length of the note or if you have vibrato. That is not motivating at all! When following the exercise rather well I still only got 87%.
It was very discouraging seeing the “needle” showing my vibrato as if I sing out of tune. Singing in a straight tone helped the score, but one should know how to do that without straining. Also sometimes it decided that my voice jumped an octave down, which was definitely not the case.
I sang the most advanced exercise accurately and only got 42%. It went up pretty high, so If you have a certain voice type which doesn’t go all the way up I suppose that will lower your score even further.
The first 2 exercises are more like an accuracy test than a vocal warm up. They don’t warm you up across the range, but they are short and only repeat once. Then the third and forth are warm up exercises. Two exercises in total you can warm up with. There are apparently new exercises coming up.
This is sort of a karaoke feature. It’s fun, but same issue with no heads up or note before you start. There is no countdown, but you can see where the line is coming up, and you are supposed to sing on the line. There are only 3 tunes that are free. For the rest you need to get Apple Music (or equivalent in android).
After every song or exercise there's an advertisement. Sometimes it's for smule, which is a karaoke app. I am thinking people will just flood there and leave this app behind.
Shows you the dates and length of your practice sessions - nice. You also get sometimes notifications which remind you to check out new songs or practice.
Available only for members. I confess I am not tempted at all to become a member, since the free version was not helpful, motivating or even handy.
Verdict Perfect Pitch
Waste of time
- By: VELDEN LLC.
- 4.1 stars - 1.4K ratings
- Free+Pro upgrade option for € 4.49
The general instruction is to sing as low/high as comfortable. A good piece of advice! Downside: monotonous talking, not personalized.
This part is easily overlooked. I skipped it because I didn’t think there would be practice material there. On second visit I realized you have an entire section of singing basics in it:
- General inspiration about the voice
- Breathing exercises for stamina and support (really good BTW)
- Vocal Health do’s and don’ts
- Pitch exercises - not a fan. They encourage you to hold the note for a long time, and consciously correct the pitch. Most times holding a note actively might activate the wrong muscles and create more tension and less pitch control.
- Explanation about tone of voice
- Explanation about the scales
- Explanation about Range (better put: vocal registration, which not all teachers agree upon. Personally I don't share their view on registration).
YOU NEED A HEADSET TO HEAR THE MUSIC
They demonstrate what to sing before you are accepted to sing, which is good. They also track how many times you practiced, also good. You can control when the exercise goes higher and lower, very good!
Some consonants are pronounced with a glottal stop in the beginning of it, which might be aggressive on the vocal cords..
For other levels you have to upgrade. You can create a custom routine for free, but to use it you will need to upgrade.
A handy feature. You can choose the exercise, the speed and the key and it will start it for you. Then you also choose the syllable/consonant on which you sing the exercise. So that helps you custom-make your own routine, which is also possible through the app.
This is great if you have a routine from your teacher or you made one up for yourself, you can compose it in the app and have it on hand.
Here you make up your own exercises. Simple to use, and good fun! Once you compose a scale it will be added to the scale section.
I’m missing the option to write long notes. Composing is free, but you cannot use the scale you have created unless you upgrade.
*I think it’s worth it to upgrade in order to use the self created scales and routines.
I think it’s super cool. As a teacher I can share routines I created with my students. You can choose the scales and routines or create them on the spot, then share them on via email (apple mail in my case, which I don’t use), FB or Twitter. On android they give a ton of other options!
Easy to use
Exercise build up
Vocal Ease 2
- By: Arnold McCuller
- $0.99 on iOs; $1.99 on Android
- 4.4 stars - 470 ratings.
They declare the app is for use in the car or on the go. It shouldn’t replace your teacher.
Some technical advice is given right off the bat: palate up, larynx down, feeling of a yawn or a sneeze. I don’t agree with all of it, but OK.
Here is the best part
The warm up exercises are in a form of audio guide, done obviously by the voice teacher himself - I like that! This guy, Arnold, gives a nice, cool atmosphere and made me smile quite a few times. This approach of him recording homey, personalized guides is wonderful.
This app is actually quite handy. You can press play and roll with it, hands free, it will autoplay and you will feel like he is talking directly to you with his charming personality. So this indeed delivers on the car-friendly promise. That interface and the way the app works - I love. I can’t recommend the actual routines, but the usability gives this app a great potential if those can be adjusted, or if you happen to like the routines.
The first exercise is supposed to be a simple hum. It is a hum, alright, but not simple. 1.5 octave range, and makes you linger on the highest, too! If that’s the first exercise of my day without warming up - I’m gonna hurt my throat.
As I am going through the exercises they are almost all advanced and wide ranged. How is that supposed to get me ready for a performance while I am driving my car (that I don’t have)?
No alternatives to the lip trills, some people can’t do them. No explanation on what a connected sound is or how to achieve it.
If you have the tendency to strain while singing, this app will not help you at all, it will actually cause harm. Because you will reinforce the same wide range challenging exercise that you don’t know how to do.
Technical guidance: there's a mix of good and not so good here.
How to do the lip trills is explained here in a very helpful way, actually. That should be in the very first time he asks to do lip trills.
Some of the exercises actually feel good, like those starting with NG or G sounds. They could be really good further down the line.
What's not so good:
At some point Arnold says: remember to breathe. That’s a bit general, in my opinion. Not everyone breathes efficiently. Some use extra tension around the airway, some will hyperventilate. Especially beginners, but not only.
Passaggio exercise does not explain how it helps the passaggio, and is actually yet another version of the same one we repeated many times.
Can you use this app to warm up?
If you would like to use this app to warm up, but agree with me that the first routines are too hard, here is the order I would recommend:
- Number 4. On 2nd Warm up series
- Number 1. On 2nd Warm up series
- Number 8. On exercises
- Number 9. On exercises.
- Number 7. On exercises.
- Number 3. On 1st Warm up series
After that - feel free to play around with any of the routines
There is no explanation of the basics of the musical theory, assumes we know what a diatonic scale is and what major or minor thirds etc.
This is a good hearing training, but NOT good for people with range issues. You can learn a bit about theory through singing, so that’s a nice way to do that.
That’s very big of Arnold to give a platform to other teachers on his own app!
Unfortunately, I don’t know that they contribute anything that will change my general opinion about the exercise build-up. Every guest brings some cool ideas, the recurring themes that I am not on board with are: lack of graduality (some of the guests are better with their first exercises, though) and lack of explanation of technique/musical theory.
*Bug alert: There is currently a bug in the app, under one of the guests’ tutorials. There are video options, but when clicked they cause a black screen from which you cannot retreat unless you restart your phone (BTW, I’m using an iphone).
Cute and useful feature, especially if you are out and about and in desperate need of a certain tone.
Easy to use
Verdict Vocal Ease 2
Maybe Kinda (with a great potential to 4 or 4.5!)
If you already know technique you may know how to use this app.
Need a good online singing tool?
While apps can give you some exercises and voice tips, you need to know how to internalize and control them. I have a system which wil take you by the hand and show you how to learn to sing.
- By: Carlos Campaña
- Free+upgrade options
- 4.6 stars - ~500 ratings.
Starts with a gong 🙂
You need to choose your voice type. But what if you don’t know?!?!?
Routines; trainings; release; chest voice workout; vibrato; warm downs (assimilate trainings; express warm down); Warm ups (Daily Warm up; Morning Warm up)
The first routine in the first training is called release. The first exercise on it (which is the frist exercise you encounter) is HARD! It starts on a high pitch, then goes with an arpeggio down and up 4 times! I would NOT give that as a first exercise, it’s very advanced. The others were not easier. I don’t really know what is releasing about that... I would call it extensive workout, and it should be done AFTER YOU HAVE ALREADY WARMED UP.
All the routines have rather difficult exercises in them. Not sure how they help the vocal elements (chest, vibrato, for example). Some of the routines don’t even go up and down the range. So it’s a no go for me. This app is not useful, and might even be harmful.
Recording feature doesn’t work.
Easy to use
Verdict Vox Tools
7 minute Vocal warmup
- By: Indra Aziz
- $0.99 on ios; free on android (but recovery and cool down are behind paywall, there is a pro version as well)
- 4.7 stars - ~3K ratings.
Menu: breathing, warm up, recovery, cool down, about.
There is a lot of reading required here. Text is a bit small. However the instructions are good.
In the about (last section in the menu) there is a guide on using the exercises only within the comfortable range of one’s voice. Also advice as to when one should consult a physician. That’s important and good to say. But I would mention that in the beginning, and not in the last section.
You need a headset to get the audio in this app, which is not indicated.
No explanation what the exercises do or why. Might be tricky because one could end up inhaling too much, hyperventilating and/or accumulating subglottal pressure. If you can manage those exercises without feeling pressure on the vocal cords, or fainting - it’s good for building up stamina and breath control.
You have to go through the exercises start to finish, no pausing, rewinding or forwarding. That's not handy.
In general the build up here is ok. Could be more gradual, but I can live with it 🙂
There are 3 sections: Easy, Regular and Extra.
In the first exercise the chord is given together with the singing, not in advance, that might be difficult to follow. After that the chord is given in advance.
Here, also, there is no rewinding, forwarding or pausing the exercise.
There is no autoplay so you have to actively stop one exercise and click another.
Vocal fry and humming. I believe these are good, especially the humming. When you have a hoarse voice, however, your vocal cords might not close well, nor fry.
Basically vocalizing going down the melody. The exercises are nice to do, feel good and relaxing.
Easy to use
Verdict 7 minute Vocal warmup
Maybe kinda, almost pretty good
It might be worth a shot if you don’t mind spending one dollar (or get a partial version for free on android). But you have to be mindful of the feeling in your throat throughout the entire use of the app. There are some really good ideas and exercises here, but the technical guidance is not thorough enough to make me feel at complete ease.
Warm me up!
- By: Warm me up
- 4.2 stars - ~90 ratings.
Again, asking for my sex and range, you know how I feel about that...
From the first look it’s promising. They declare to build up the warm ups properly: short ranges and consonants first. They also guide us as to what a good warm up is and how we can and should custom it for ourselves.
You can select the length of your warm up. Nice feature.
The sequences that they put together for us were unuseful to me. Even though you indicate what voice type you are, the different exercises are of different voice types and ranges. When I contacted them about it, they claimed it is purposefully this way, so that one can expand the range and experiment with singing lower and higher.
In Browse Exercises you can just choose your exercise and they are all the range you chose, so I prefer that. The first few exercises are great to start with!
Auto plays to the next exercise - good.
Some of those in the getting started section are a bit too fast, not everyone’s voice is agile. But mostly the humming and trills are short ranged and very helpful.
They give short text instructions on each exercise which is good. However, sometimes the instructions involve something that should be taught, and it is assumed that people will know how to do it. For example: well shaped vowels; maintain your support.
In getting warmer the exercises are already quite advanced.
The scales go up and back down, which is good. But they don’t warm you up lower than the middle.
The exercises become more and more creative and funny, definitely a plus. That creates a positive experience which one will opt to repeat. I should learn from that and use more funny exercises!
A good thing: piano accompaniment is a joy, this is for sure a professional pianist and the chords are not simple, they sound like a song accompaniment, which makes it inspiring and motivating.
You can create your own warm up, that’s good! I can copy the routines they created if I like those, and make sure they are in my range. On the other hand, if they took the trouble to ask me what my range is and create routines so I can use them, why won’t they make them so that I can use them?
I think one of the caveats here is that the creators of this app are all professional singers. That makes it fun and fancy, but all of those people can already sing. And that’s the standard that is taken here into account.
I think it would be really cool if they wrote down the exercises in music notes. They already have a staff there on the screen - why not?
Easy to use
Verdict Warm me up!
Pretty good! But you have to be mindful and not overdo it.
Erol singer's studio
- By: Erol Studios.
- Free+upgrade options
- 4.8 stars - ~2K ratings.
- Upgrade: €1.99 per week; 7.49 per month or 54.99 per year. Will grant you more posture tutorials and more exercises.
First screen: My vocal range: shows keyboard and the different voice types, you can also record to detect your range. It wasn't very self explanatory - However - this is the first app I found which helps you find your range! Turned out not to be the only one - but Kudos.
Looking back I understand I really should've gone for my comfortable notes (they said not to strain, but they meant really sing ONLY in your comfort zone). Because they make you sing all, or most, of your range, from bottom to top then back down.
Some exercises don't go throughout the range, or almost not at all, because they serve another purpose, that's perfectly fine. Then others go throughout the whole range (or most of it), no gradual expansion, or starting from a comfortable note.
That’s critical because starting too low, going all the way up and back all the way down might hurt your voice. You can read the warm up section for more a more detailed opinion.
There are 2 levels to start with: beginner 1 and 2. There is an animated demonstration of some exercises - that’s super awesome: First exercise is a long S, exhale exercise. They show with a man figure how to do it.
I don’t entirely agree with the technical wording there - but that’s ok. This is a support issue and not all teachers agree on that. Then they count the seconds for you! Very handy, engaging and fun to do.
Next is counting at loud on one pitch. That should help stabilize the tone and build support. I love that there are instructions and vocal samples on every exercise, however they assume you can already control your voice to some extent. They instruct you to do something, not teach you how.
You can also mark exercises as favorites, that’s a cool feature.
Not good. I ended up with hoarseness trying to follow it:
- They start with an open vowel - A. that should be last.
- You have to start from the very bottom of the range. That’s no way to warm up, one should start comfortably and work their way down and then from the middle up again. (The strange thing is that this is the principle with which they instructed us to determine the range: first middle then lower then higher. So they know this is the way to go!)
- You can choose to skip to a certain note but then it gives it to you separately and doesn’t continue with the warm up. So if you want to follow the exercise it has to be bottom to top, then back all the way down.
- There is no way to forward or rewind. If you pause for a few seconds it starts all over again. Not handy.
- Grading system is extremely strict. They test the accuracy militantly. My own approach to singing on pitch doesn’t go hand in hand with this, because I don’t believe trying to fix or control your pitch is good for the voice. On the other hand it’s a good tool to develop awareness. So if you know how to control your voice you can use this.
Some tips along the way as you warm up are good.
The fact that the system is so stingy with the score is hurting motivation.
You feel the pressure to do the exercises the way they are laid out - not healthy vocally - or you won’t get the score you need to unlock the posture chapter.
I don’t like that, not only because you are incentivized and pressured to do an irresponsible warm up, but also because posture is so essential to one controlling their voice - and pitch! You want us to get a good score? Teach us some posture FIRST.
Being able to play your recording back is helpful and I learned from it. It is not obvious right away how to do this, though.
After doing the beginner warm up I hit the pay wall, but there is still ear training after that, which you can also use as vocal exercises. So that’s nice.
The animation is super neat. They even show the internal anatomy of the lungs and ribs!
- There is no audio. Only text. I don’t read fast enough to keep up.
- The principles of the posture are correct, but to achieve them is not as simple as instructing them. So this app will not really teach you how to achieve the right posture, only what it is.
- There are 2 lessons in this chapter, and only one for free.
On the other hand - this is the only app teaching posture at all. Plus, it’s really nice that they don’t put all of it behind a pay wall, instead they make you work for it.